The Disappearance of Winter's Daughter

grinning its delight. Then, as tears of blood ran down stone skin, that grotesque monkey-face tilted up. No more encouragement was required. Royce resumed his rapid climb.

The window on the top floor was his goal, his exit, the broken one Villar had shattered the night before.

Reaching the top floor, Royce once more spotted the suit of armor standing against the wall, still holding its long spear. Behind him, the gargoyle was climbing the steps. Royce listened to the crack of stone on marble as if someone were clapping rocks together.

Glass from the window still lay on the floor. Outside was the wall, the leap to the cathedral, and a trip across rooftops that Royce had made once already. Except this time, he would be the prey, the one who would slide down slate shingles and fall into the river. Maybe he, too, would survive. No . . . that sort of thing happens to other people, not me. He wasn’t Villar, and he wasn’t

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